Canada has slipped to the low 60s in the last several federal elections.
"I don't think you can compel people to vote," Van Loan said in an interview with The Canadian Press.
"We're going to be bringing forward measures that we think will help increase the turnouts in elections, to help people feel they have a greater stake in the future of their country, to help them think their vote will make a difference and will matter."
I really don't think we need legislation to encourage participation. If the Tories are sincere, than it seems there are an array of internal changes available that they can embrace, to renew voter interest.
The single most important factor that explains lowering voter turnout percentages lies within a combination of cynicism and apathy. If you want to engage a suspicious electorate, then you need to present a process that they can believe in. In other words, you need to be transparent, honest, forthright, and speak a language that people can relate too. You need to present ideas that demonstrate a commitment to principle, an absence of partisanship and most of all, free of spin. People don't believe the words, the usual dialogue has a used car salesman aspect that is a complete turnoff.
Raise the level of discourse in our national institution, so that Canadians are presented with honest debate that they can take pride in. Reject the childish gotcha politics and bad one liners that has become the norm in parliament. Where is the motivation to participate, when the casual observer sees nothing but irrelevant nothingness, uttered by borish baffoons?
I believe this government has lowered the bar, which provides further alienation of the voter. Others will argue it has always been this way, but while examples are obvious, there is a consistency now that I would argue is unprecedented (as an aside Don Newman spoke with a former Liberal Minister and a former Conservative Minister, both agreed that the level of acrimony and nonsense now was unprecedented). This government has the power to change the dialogue, "do things differently" and present a more attractive image to the public.
Even when Canadians agree with the policies of this government, they question the motivations. There is a disconnect between "good government" and "good politics". To re-establish trust, Canadians must see a genuine quality, as opposed to a unrelenting drive to attain power. Promises must be kept, to demonstrate that words have substance.
If this government wants to increase voter turnout, then maybe it should stop micro-managing every sentence, stop with blatant dis-information campaigns, stop with the childish banter, stop with the divisive, wedge politics and stop with the idea that Canadians can be swayed. The government already has all the power it needs to increase turnout, and it starts with a sobering look in the mirror.